Joplin Airport Receives Federal Grant for Improvements

Joplin Airport Receives Federal Grant for Improvements

Approval of federal funds could mean improvements at the Joplin Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved an airport improvement grant for improvements to one of their taxiways.

Joseph Beachner works at Leggett and Platt, and recently he’s been flying quite a bit.

Joseph Beachner, Frequent Flyer:”Every other week and probably out of Joplin once a month.”

This flight was a little bit different though because he’s taking the whole family.

Beachner:”Our youngest one has no idea what’s going on, but the oldest one she sees planes all the time in the air so we just pretend hey, we’re gonna be on one of those planes going to Dallas.”

Beachner is just one of many flyers that could see some construction at the airport in the future.

February of last year, American Airlines started using larger jets in Joplin.. then earlier this year, they added an additional flight each day of the week for several months of the year.

David Hertz berg, Joplin Public Works Director:”It has a wear on the taxiways, so we’ve evaluated the taxiway and runways for improvement to handle the bigger jets .”

A seven-point-five-million dollar Federal Aviation Administration grant has been awarded to the airport for reconstruction of taxiway D.

It’s the main taxiway at the airport.. but is also one of the oldest.. meaning it will have to be completely removed and redone.

Hertzberg:”It’ll be a reconstruction project, so they’ll be some closure times and coordination times on that taxiway.”

Hertzberg says the project is one that needed to happen whether they had the grant or not..

Hertzberg:”We were in the planning process for this as a future AIP (Airport Improvement Project) project. This is some additional funds that’s sped this project up.”

He also says improving infrastructure because of more business is a good problem to have.

Hertzberg:”This is a great opportunity to be ready for hopefully more jets in the future and more enplanement use at the airport.”

The project is expected to begin sometime next year, the grant is accepted by the city council.

95-percent of the total project cost will be paid by the grant — meaning city funds from the Transportation Sales Tax fund will have to cover around 395-thousand dollars.

A special council session will be held this Monday the 24-th.